(note - this article comes from ASM's 2010 Public Communications Award winner Debora MacKenzie)
Could playing in the dirt make you smarter? Studies in mice suggest that it could.
Mice given peanut butter laced with a common, harmless soil bacterium ran through mazes twice as fast and enjoy... Read More
Jeffrey Fox of Microbe interviews Jian Ku Shang,materials scientist from the University of Illinois for the May 2010 issue.
The search for factors contributing to obesity has turned inward — all the way to the middle of the gut, where as many as 100 trillion bacteria hang out. The mix of microbes in a given person’s innards may — emphasize “may” — play some role in determining his tendency to put on pounds by governi... Read More
People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease occasionally have flare-ups of their symptoms that require hospitalization. A study published Tuesday shows patients who received antibiotics within the first two days of hospitalization had better outcomes.
This is the second study in two da... Read More
New research from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) identifies a new potential cause for "Colony Collapse Disorder" in honeybees. A group of pathogens including a fungus and family of viruses may be working together to cause the decline. Scientists report their results May 25 at... Read More
A new vaccine may be able to provide some protection against all strains of influenza.
Current immunizations create antibodies that target a specific piece of a molecule on the surface of the virus that researchers call its “head.” That piece of the hemaglutinin protein evolves very quickly... Read More
The last (and only) defense against the ongoing Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is tiny—billions of hydrocarbon-chewing microbes, such as Alcanivorax borkumensis. In fact, the primary motive for using the more than 830,000 gallons of chemical dispersants on the oil slick both a... Read More
Researchers report that germs living in your gut could affect your risk of developing colon cancer.
The findings suggest that signs of the existence of some germs "are more frequently detected in subjects with polyps, early lesions that can develop into cancer, while other bacterial signature... Read More
While reading my back issues of Applied and Environmental Microbiology (AEM), I came across an interesting paper that detailed an in-depth study on the effectiveness of hand cleaners to remove Norwalk virus (NV) from intentionally contaminated hands.
Yes that’s right – intentionally contamina... Read More
A closely watched experimental hepatitis C treatment being developed by Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc led to a 75 percent cure rate in a pivotal late-stage trial of previously untreated patients, the company said on Tuesday.
The results from the first Phase III study of telaprevir were roughly i... Read More
I joined Marc Pelletier on episode 60 of Futures in Biotech for a conversation with Dave Brodbeck, George Farr, and Andre Nantel. We talked about primate face recognition, discovery of a new antiviral compound to treat hepatitis C virus infection, changing the length of a codon from three to fou... Read More
Now that the thimerosal-autism link has been thoroughly discredited, some autism advocates argue that neurodevelopmental problems are caused by overloading children's immune systems with too many vaccines too early in life. As a result, a growing number of parents are asking pediatricians to use... Read More
While Bones might be overestimating his skills there a mite bit, I think the simple "old country Doc" would see the potential for this therapy to move us more towards the sort of medicine he's accustomed to practicing. However, if he does work that rainy day cure out, I have need of him in subu... Read More
Dengue fever, a growing scourge in the tropics, has established itself in a popular American tourist destination, federal health officials reported last week.
Last August, an alert doctor in upstate New York realized that one of his patients, whose only recent travel had been to Key West, Fl... Read More
Public health officials are battling a host of new infectious threats to the nation's blood supply.
Blood centers, which have long tested for risks like hepatitis C and AIDS, have added a number of new tests on donated blood in recent years, including checks for West Nile virus and Chagas, a... Read More
Studies have shown time spent in nature does us all good. Specifically a recent study done with 1,200 people, published in the journal Environmental Health and Technology found that even just five minutes in a leafy park can significantly boost our mood. Well it might be because we inhaled some ... Read More
Walking across the campus of Montana State University here, David Sands, a plant pathologist, says the blanket of snow draped over the mountains around town contains a surprise.
The cause of most of it, he said, is a living organism, a bacterium, called pseudomonas syringae.
In the last ... Read More
Researchers have discovered a link between infection with enteroviruses -- which can cause viral meningitis -- and diagnoses of type 1 diabetes in children.
It's not clear how the two might be linked, but the findings suggest that the existence of the virus could be a biomarker for diabetes i... Read More
The Food and Drug Administration says it has approved the first diagnostic test for 2009 swine flu under its traditional approval system.
The FDA previously cleared several tests on a limited basis for use during the declared public health emergency related to swine flu.
The new Simplexa I... Read More
A flexible ring containing two anti-HIV drugs showed in laboratory tests that it can deliver therapeutic levels of both drugs for up to 30 days, researchers reported at the International Microbicides Conference (M2010) in Pittsburgh, adding that they consider the ring near ready for testing of i... Read More